Canterbury offers an intimate dining experience with a varied mix of world cuisine and bistro style restaurants, old Kentish real ale inns and inviting wine bars, iconic tearooms and retro cafes all dotted around its largely pedestrianized centre. Sourcing locally and with a leaning towards organic, vegetarian/ vegan food and specialist diets, this English Cathedral city feels Continental and there are plenty of award-winners here to tempt your palette. Best chef Michael Caines is based at ABodes on the High Street. Canterbury is famed for its ancient traditional inns, some of which feature their own onsite microbreweries like The Foundry on White Horse Lane. Visit Canterbury during the annual food and drink festival in late September. Local produce stalls are centred around the city’s Dane John Gardens.
The flavours of the world are right here in Canterbury often accompanied by lively entertainment. The city contains everything from independent seafood restaurants to sumptuous wholefood kitchens and world cuisine restaurants from Indian and Cuban to Italian, French and Arabian. Popular venues include Azouma (Arabic for invitation) located on Church Street just outside the city walls – a 4 minute stroll from the city centre. Sample a variety of healthy Arabic dishes here with the flavours of Turkey, Greece, Syria and the Lebanon all featuring along with free live belly dance every Friday. If you’re a fan of Cantonese and Chinese flavours head to the Golden Kitchen Chinese Restaurant and Takeaway on St Dunstan’s Street with affordable and delicious special lunch menu!
Enjoy modern Mediterranean cuisine from Provence in the south of France and from Italy at Café du Soleil housed in a former 18th century wool store alongside the river Stour. Alfresco dining features on Café du Soleil’s riverside terrace and food is cooked in their woodburner oven. For traditional English cuisine head to some long-standing favourite restaurants in the city including The Cricketers on St Peters Street and great value Panteli’s of Canterbury, an outstanding restaurant for groups located on Canterbury Lane and famed for its hearty breakfasts and locally sourced wholefood.
The Goods Shed
The Goods Shed is Canterbury’s own farmer’s market, where local produce (much of it organically farmed) is on sale and served up in the onsite café restaurant. Since the Goods Shed farmers market started in 2003, several local farms have been rejuvenated by its success. A local co-operative with fine fayre from local Canterbury farms, bakers, vineyards and more are all here.
Tearooms, Cafes & Bistros
Specialist bistros and fine tea rooms are plentiful around the city centre. They include an excellent selection of venues catering for special diets. If your dietary requirement is gluten free then head to Oscar & Bentleys Bistro and tea room on Guildhall Street where you can be assured all the delicious cakes and dishes here are gluten free.
No visit to Canterbury is complete without a visit to the city’s famous tearoom – Tiny Tim’s with its enchanting 1930s atmosphere and delectable light lunches, speciality teas, puddings and many speciality cakes and tea breads like their Plump Pilgrim, a fat sweet scone cake with citrus pieces and currents served with warm butter and jam. A takeaway service plus their unique branded range including the charming Bentley the Dog range are also available, and visit the top floor room to learn more about the tearooms’ legendary ghosts!
Sample the delights of some of Kent’s award-winning food and drink producers in Canterbury’s stylish choice of cafes and tearooms dotted around Burgate, St Margaret’s Street, Sun Street, the High Street – essentially at every turn sits a fine café or tearoom. Museums, theatres and the Cathedral are also home to best city cafes and tearooms including the Gulbenkian’s Café Bar and the Canterbury Cathedral Café next to Christ Church Gate. Patisserie style cafes are also plentiful with handmade cakes prepared using traditional baking methods – Strawberry Gateau never tasted so good at Patisserie Valerie on Canterbury High Street.